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View Full Version : I left before end of tenancy agreement - my reasons and some advice please?



Segandy
10-10-2011, 20:21 PM
Hi all,

i know this forum is for landlords but I'm looking for some advice about when i left my houseshare tenancy early.
It's quite a long story and there have been a few emails between me and my previous landlord.
I basically moved out because one of the other tenants in the house was letting his friends in and openly using drugs in communal areas.
I left because it scared me and because of my job.
i'm just looking for advice on where I stand.
I anyone's interested I'll copy the emails in?
Thanks in advance
Paula

mariner
10-10-2011, 22:16 PM
As a LL I would have to say ir was unwise to leave your T early without prior written permission of LL. I suggest what you should have done is report T to Police. You could have invited a plain clothes round as a friend during one of these sessions for evidential purposes. Once LL has evidence of unlawful activity on his property he can more easily evict theindividual(s).

ram
11-10-2011, 08:47 AM
I basically moved out because one of the other tenants in the house was letting his friends in and openly using drugs in communal areas.
I left because it scared me and because of my job.Paula

This forum is also for tenants, and landlords on here welcome your questions,
and most will sympathise with genuine tenants problems.
However, you may get confused on the legal answers sometimes, but
that is only to protect you from getting into trouble by not doing things
correctly, ( what ever the reasons for leaving ).

We know that if you complain to the landlord, the other tenants can then
make your life HELL, so telling the landlord is sometimes not an option, and
you just have to leave, then tell landlord afterwards.

you don't say when you left ( 2 months into a 6 month tenancy ? etc )

We assume you advised the landlord that you were scared to be
put in with drug users, and that you were not happy, and feel you
must take yourself away from a potentially dangerous situation
immediately.

If you did not advise the landlord then your defence can be that
"how dare he put you in with others that openly used drugs, and to
put you in an unacceptable possition to be in fear"

If the landlord insists that you pay till the end of your tenancy,
( which he is entitled to do ) then make your point that if he does,
then he condones drug usng in his premises, and you will take the
matter further and report him for allowing drugs to be used on his
premises.

Above are only options for you to consider, as we do not know the whole
story, dates etc, and what you told the landlord and his reply ( keep info
short and brief ) Then others may be able to advise alternative options.

R.a.M.

MrJohnnyB
11-10-2011, 09:04 AM
Could this be a case of derogation of grant by LL? Not sure. But by allowing another tenant to occupy the premises who severely affects your benefit of said premises (no use over communal areas etc) then I think it could be a good defence.

What communication did you have with the Landlord prior to departing?

westminster
11-10-2011, 12:17 PM
I'm looking for some advice about when i left my houseshare tenancy early.
It's quite a long story and there have been a few emails between me and my previous landlord.
I basically moved out because one of the other tenants in the house was letting his friends in and openly using drugs in communal areas.
Was the tenancy in England/Wales?

Was this a joint tenancy, with all of you named as tenant on a single contract?

What date does/did the fixed term expire?

Did you contact the LL about the drug problem prior to moving out?

Is the LL now claiming you owe him rent? If so, how much?

Snorkerz
11-10-2011, 12:23 PM
If this is a joint tenancy, did you know your co-tenant before you moved into the property?

Segandy
11-10-2011, 18:10 PM
Hi all,

wow I didnt expect so many replies so quickly!!!
I left my tenancy with 2 months to run and didnt have any say in who my fellow tenants were.
He is asking for the final 2 months (8 weeks) rent and for me to pay until he fills the room. I have paid him 2 weeks.
I contacted my landlord on the night i was leaving to tell him I was going.
I'm attaching a copy of the email i sent him when i left. Theres a few more between us if youd like me to add them.
Sorry if this turns out to be a long thread but I'm really grateful for any advice.

Firstly, can I apologise for not returning your phone calls and contacting you by email. The last time we spoke you left me a little intimidated and, because of the tone of your recent voicemails, I have not felt comfortable speaking to you.


As you probably remember, the reason I felt I had to leave immediately was because of the poor attitude of the new tenants you had moved in and the related drug use I came across on the Sunday morning made it feel unsafe to live there.


You are aware that I work in a prison but I don’t feel you understand the implications associating with drug users would have on my job. In short, living with and condoning the actions of drug users could lose me my job.
Because of this I feel it is reasonable that I left without serving any notice period; I some respects I was almost forced to leave.


I left on the 31st of August. I paid you 2 weeks rent from that date.
You told my sister that I owed you another 2 weeks rent and that you would also expect me to pay until the room was filled. When I first moved in you took nearly £200 for credit checks and council tax payments. I have no proof these checks and payments took place.
Furthermore, how can I be liable to pay until the room is filled? If I was to do this then you would have no incentive to fill it, neither would I know if you had done so or not.


As a landlord I feel you have a responsibility to your tenants. Allowing drug use and generally leaving your tenants feeling unsafe is not a satisfactory way for a landlord to conduct his business. You could claim you did not know anything about the issues in the house. Again, I feel you have a responsibility to visit the property to ensure the house is being looked after and the tenants are happy. To my knowledge you never did this, other than to show prospective tenants around.


During your conversation with my sister you stated you were considering instructing solicitors. If you wish to do this I would be grateful if you could inform me at your earliest opportunity as it will then be necessary for me to inform my employers of the situation and escalate the matter further myself.


Thanks
Paula
PS i know that most of you are good guys cos my current LL is ace!!!

Paul_f
11-10-2011, 18:16 PM
I think your e-mail is extremely poignant, and very much indicates your position is invidious. I would be very interested to see the reaction of your landlord to this.

Segandy
11-10-2011, 18:36 PM
Hi thanks for getting back.
Attached is his reply - it's quite long!!!


DRUGS: Are totally forbidden in our houses. Each tenant has a copy of the house rules which are also displayed on the fridge which states this. Sohail informs me that he offered to remove the 2 culprits and apparently you said "no, its okay I will go". We understand that you cannot be involved with drugs with respect to your job, but as landlords we do not tolerate drugs either. S... said he also offered you new accommodation. I was not involved in any of this (I just do the admin and backroom stuff) ...but from what I can tell, S... made every effort to protect you from being associated with drug users by a) offering you new accommodation and b) offering to evict the people using drugs. I believe it was your decision to reject both offers and move out.

MONITORING SERVICES: S... cannot be around at all the properties 24/7 as people would find that intimidating and over- bearing. However he does inspect the property weekly, although this is during daytime and most people are probably out at work. We cannot police the properties and we rely on other tenants to tell us what is going on. S...s mobile and email and home address are displayed on the contracts and on the fridge and on other documentation. If any tenants are braking house rules, we expect the rest of the household to report this to us and cannot be liable if the rest of the household do not contact us to report any issues...despite having all our details.

CONTRACTS & RENT: Our standard rental terms are a 6 month minimum period and this is standard throughout the industry. If you have a 6 month contract and leave before the end date, we (like every other landlord) are entitled to take you to court and claim back the money that was due up and until that end date. Every single landlord and letting agent operates in the same way. You cannot simply run away from a contract because it is legally binding. On the contract it also states that you must give us 1 months notice. If you leave before this period, the fact is - you still own the room and are still liable for it.

OTHER COSTS: Prior to a tenancy, S... will ask for a £85 fee for ID and credit checks. This is normal industry practise. In fact many letting agents will also ask for a fee when you leave as some sort of exit cost. We dont do this. We do not take bonds from tenants as we are a houseshare rather than renting a whole house to one person. Plus many of our tenants would simply see this as the last months rent. Instead we ask for a non returnable admin fee which = 2 weeks rent. This is clearly stated on your contract and the admin fee pays to have your room decorated and carpets cleaned when you leave. I can send you are rental T&C,s if you want to check on this.

I know you are probably feeling a bit down about things at the moment and I do sympathise with you. You may not believe this, but in fact we are caring landlords and we do try our best to work with people. In the past some tenants have lost their jobs and S... has not thrown them out (as other ruthless landlords would have done)...but has in fact let them stay and helped them to find a new job. My understanding of your situation (as someone who has not been involved), is that S... made every effort to help you. He offered you other rooms &/or to evict the culprits. He tried his best to support you.

He is legally entitled to take you to the court and seek compensation for the full 6 months until 10th November (your contract end date). If you left on the 31st August and paid up until 14th September. There are around 9 weeks between your last payment and end of contract date. You rent was £100 per week and so technically and legally you owe us £900.
When S... offered to release you from your contract early if he could fill your room......he was doing you a favour.

No other landlord would make this offer to you. They would take your contract to a solicitor and take you to court and make you pay £900. I am not sure that you actually understand that S... was trying to help you by saying that he wouldnt hold you to the full contract period as long as he could fill your room beforehand.
Trust me....he does not lie. All our books go through an accountant and we cannot be seen to be taking money from a room twice (in other words we fill your room whilst you are still paying us for it).

I am sorry that you dont get along with S... and felt unable to negotiate a fair solution with him, as he would have tried to have helped you.

I suggest you take your contract to someone like citizens advice bureau and get independent legal advice. We can work with you to try and find a mutual solution, but you do need to communicate with us or we will have no choice but to start legal proceedings. We prefer not to do this, so please get in touch and lets see what we can do to help.

Thanks again

Paul_f
11-10-2011, 19:11 PM
This is basically claptrap and if he took you to court I would like to be a fly on the wall to see the judge give the landlord a piece of his mind!

Segandy
11-10-2011, 19:23 PM
Hi Paul,
thanks or getting back.
would you like to see my reply to his?
I told you it was a long story?
thanks
Paula

westminster
11-10-2011, 22:47 PM
I left my tenancy with 2 months to run and didnt have any say in who my fellow tenants were.
This doesn't answer the question of whether or not you had a joint tenancy or an individual tenancy for a room.

But whatever - either way, the LL is not responsible for the actions of the other tenants, and it doesn't entitle you to repudiate the tenancy contract.


As a landlord I feel you have a responsibility to your tenants. Allowing drug use and generally leaving your tenants feeling unsafe is not a satisfactory way for a landlord to conduct his business. You could claim you did not know anything about the issues in the house. Again, I feel you have a responsibility to visit the property to ensure the house is being looked after and the tenants are happy. To my knowledge you never did this, other than to show prospective tenants around.
You accuse the LL of 'allowing drug use' yet you say you didn't even report it to him - how is that reasonable? The LL has no responsibility towards his tenants other than statutory obligations such as to make certain repairs, etc. He has no obligation to inspect let alone to ensure that tenants are 'happy'.



Furthermore, how can I be liable to pay until the room is filled? If I was to do this then you would have no incentive to fill it, neither would I know if you had done so or not.
You are liable for rent up to the expiry of the fixed term because you agreed a binding contract. Rent is a debt and the LL has no obligation to mitigate a debt by finding a replacement tenant.


He is legally entitled to take you to the court and seek compensation for the full 6 months until 10th November (your contract end date). If you left on the 31st August and paid up until 14th September. There are around 9 weeks between your last payment and end of contract date. You rent was £100 per week and so technically and legally you owe us £900.
When S... offered to release you from your contract early if he could fill your room......he was doing you a favour.
I'm assuming this email was sent by an agent for the LL; he is entirely correct that the LL can pursue you for rent up to fixed term expiry.

westminster
11-10-2011, 22:55 PM
This is basically claptrap and if he took you to court I would like to be a fly on the wall to see the judge give the landlord a piece of his mind!
I'm not sure what planet you're on. OP signed a tenancy contract for a fixed term. OP has vacated claiming he/she is not liable for rent because of other T's actions. LL is claiming rent up to expiry of the fixed term, exactly as he is entitled to do.

LL has no obligation to police the rental property. OP didn't even report the drug use by other tenants. Even if he/she *had* reported it, the most that the LL could have done is to 1) report it to the police, and 2) serve a s.8 notice on the offending tenants, and apply for possession - an application most likely doomed to failure without strong evidence and/or a conviction. Meanwhile, OP would remain liable for rent.

ram
11-10-2011, 23:42 PM
But whatever - either way, the LL is not responsible for the actions of the other tenants,
and it doesn't entitle you to repudiate the tenancy contract.
And similar comments on here

As a matter of interest for others reading who are in shared accomodation, and
will have no say whatsoever in who the replacement sharers will be, when time
comes for some sharers to move on and complete strangers are then put in the
accomodation, to make up the numbers.

Are we saying to these unfortunate people, that if in fear of their
health, maybe in fear of the possiblity of drug crazed tenants, going on the
rampage, that there is nothing the landlord has to do.

We all know that if a complaint is made to the landlord, the drug users will
almost certainly make life hell for the complainant, and often there is no option
but to move out immediately.
We also know it can take 6 months to get problem tenants out, and in the
meantime, the complainant has to stay + suffer the consequences of harrassment
in such a way that is not illegal for the drug takers to do ( Letting the complainant
have to do all the cleaning, wash all the dishes, clean up all the sh*t that they will
now leave the place in because their sharer complained about them and have
their life made a missory by the drug takers, Oh yes they WILL ! )

Meaning that the complainant just has to suffer the misery, and people on here
are saying -- tough, you have to be grossly upset, miserable, in fear, and
you have to stay for the full length of the contract, and if you have to leave
because it's impossible to stay, you MUST pay for the privilage of having to
move out of an unacceptable tenancy.

So Sharers faced with a similar possition, please note.
The land lord does not have to do anything, and it is legal.
There is NO recourse, no justice, no refund, no help, no sympathy,
You HAVE to stay with drug taking people, and you have to pay for the privilage.

That's what is being told to you on here, so never share, ever !

Some of us sympathise with your problem, others just spout the law, and
say you have to pay.
yes you signed a contract, and have to pay in normal circumstances but no one
is on your side , or offering you sympathy, and agreeing that an intollerable
tenancy should be at least compensated , by offereing you a relaxation in
rent payable !

westminster
12-10-2011, 01:28 AM
Are we saying to these unfortunate people, that if in fear of their
health, maybe in fear of the possiblity of drug crazed tenants, going on the
rampage, that there is nothing the landlord has to do.

Let's not turn this into an ill-informed Daily Mail feature.

There is nothing that the LL *can* do, nor is the LL a social service provider. He can only evict an allegedly offending tenant via due process of law, and the law protects the offending tenant as well as the alleged victim tenant.

mariner
12-10-2011, 02:10 AM
Planet Earth to ram

I have found your posts to date generally reasonable, as with westminster's. Both of you are Senior Members, by virtue of no of posts(?)
This is an anon public forum, hopefully to educate both Ts & LLs in the niceties of renting property, an area well covered in Law. Whilst we may sympaihise with an OPs predicament, we should only condone lawful actions as per.
In this case as presented OP did have alt options, the LL none in the short term. OP should have reported illegal activity by another to Police
then LL could have taken s8 action against perp.
You cite OPs concern for health. Last I heard tobacco smoking was still legal in own home, even own hotel room. OP has yet to disclose what drugs were beimg used allegedly. It is poss OP is trying to justify his early departure from a property he did not like. Even SoGA does not allow refund if you just change your mind!
My advice to sharers - spend an evening with your prosp housemates before signing any T agreement, esp if you have any strong beliefs etc. Once signed you are subject to the valid terms of your contract. Even if you stay in a hotel, you have certain responsabiities.

ram
12-10-2011, 09:26 AM
to educate both Ts & LLs in the niceties of renting property.

Reply directed to all.

The points made were to show others ( Landlords and tenants ) how bad it
can get, and not condoning 100% the O.P's actions, and to possibly instill
into some landlords that providing a home for someone is not just sitting at
home ignoring problems, and just filing in forms and waiting 3 months for the
law to remove tenants, because landlords dont want to confront face to face
their obnoxious tenants so as to alleviate any future problems.

we have seen it time and time again, "Landlords don't have to do anything"

Landlords ARE able to get off their backsides and go visit the home they
have supplied, and to ensure everything is o.k.

In my opinion, and it seems only I am concerned, but I understand that the O.P.
should have contacted the landlord prior, but she is female, probably scared and
vunerable.

It's the "Do the right thing" when tenants are scared that seems to escape
some people.

Thank you .

R.a.M.

midlandslandlord
12-10-2011, 11:23 AM
@Paula

2 points.


Sohail informs me that he offered to remove the 2 culprits and apparently you said "no, its okay I will go".

I'm not sure that your LL would be able to do that without much difficulty.

And, in general...

When one T is making an allegation (whether true or not) about another T, strong legal protection for Ts against action by L developed over the years means that L is often legally powerless to do anything immediate without a risk of being prosecuted themselves for either Harassment or Unlawful Eviction. This doesn't happen very often, but councils and other bodies talk it up, and are sometimes keen to pursue. Many Ls are terrified of this (with good reason).

The quickest thing that L can do - apart from illegal stuff such as slipping £50 to wannabe vigilantes to attack alleged offender - is to pursue rapid eviction through the Courts, which takes (at best) weeks and needs concrete proof.

Even if offender is arrested and convicted and imprisoned, it takes time (= weeks to months) to do anything (and a tenancy - and benefits etc - survives short sentences).

It doesn't feel fair sometimes, but that's the situation in law.

ML

Chemistry
12-10-2011, 11:43 AM
It does seem that the LL has tried to resolve the issue by offering alternative accommodation. However, I do think that the LL’s have failed to acknowledge the fact their HMO licence could be affected if the local council were to find out that they were unwilling to take action or investigate the matter of illegal behaviour in their properties.

In addition, I wonder how a LL would be able to fulfil their statutory obligations if they did occasionally visit the premises. Therefore, it could be argued that there is an inferred obligation to inspect.

In addition, it would seem to me that this 2 weeks admin fee would be considered a deposit and should be protected. If the LL wants to argue that a tenancy is in existence then you could consider counterclaiming the 3x the deposit.

Segandy
13-10-2011, 21:07 PM
Phew, looks like I've might have caused a bit of a stir!!!

OK the drug used was cocaine and I found it all over the worktop the morning following the 'party'.

The last contact I had from him was nearly 2 weeks ago in reply to another email I sent (see below).
Can anyone give me advice on what to do next?

Thanks for getting back.

I appreciate that you took the time to address all my issues, however, there are a few points which i would like to challenge.

Drugs

I decided to reject the offer of new accommodation / eviction of other tenants as I felt that there was a strong possibility of the situation arising again.
Also, if I had informed on other tenant's activities I feel that there may have been some kind of retribution from them.

Monitoring Services

I do not feel it is mine, or any other tenant's responsibility to police the house.
If the house was inspected at regular and infrequent intervals, then the new tenant's actions and behaviour would have been seen sooner and any necessary action could have been taken (warnings / evictions etc). During the last couple of weeks of my stay it was obvious the atmosphere and cleanliness of the house was going downhill.

Contract & Rent

you state that rental contracts are for a minimum of 6 months and tenants must give 4 weeks notice.
A tenant (C...) was given a 4 month contract and similarly, students at the plumbing college are given a 8 week contract.
Another tenant (M...), has recently given 2 days notice and has only been asked to pay 4 weeks rent.

I appreciate that it is not fair to comment on other tenants contracts, however, on the face of things, that does not seem fair that their terms are different to mine.


Lastly, I would like to say thank you for offering to come to a mutual solution. Obviously I would prefer to do this as any legal proceedings are time-consuming and often unnecessary.
I am not trying to be awkward or unco-operative as I do not have an issue with S... personally nor with your company in general; I just feel it is necessary for you to understand the frightening situation I found myself in at the time I found drug use had been going on in the house.

Thanks all
Paula

Segandy
20-10-2011, 16:35 PM
HI all,
sorry to mither but does anyone have any advice?
thanks
Paula

westminster
21-10-2011, 00:06 AM
HI all,
sorry to mither but does anyone have any advice?
thanks
Paula
Read my comments in post #12. Negotiate with the LL. If you don't, then do not be surprised if LL claims against you for unpaid rent for the remainder of the fixed term.